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What Should NASCAR Do With the Bristol Spring Race in 2024?

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The 2024 NASCAR schedule is still a few weeks away from being released, and one of the major things that is holding up the release of the schedule is what to do with the spring race at Bristol. It is a date that has been under scrutiny for years with subpar crowds despite a generally good racing product. The dirt race revitalized interest in the date, at least for a time, but, some wonder if it has run its’ course. What are the options for the Bristol spring date?

Move it Back to the Concrete

Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the most popular race tracks in NASCAR. The night race held in September can arguably be considered one of the sport’s “Crown Jewel” events. As a race track, Bristol with concrete is good just as it is.

When Bristol first made the move to dirt for the spring race, many liked the idea of racing on dirt, but they also wondered whether or not Bristol was the right place to do it. Yes, the crowds were not great for the spring race for years, but the racing product was usually varying levels of good. The last spring race held on concrete in 2020 was one of the best races of the season.

The biggest issue with moving the race back to concrete would be the crowd. For some reason, people just did not show up to the springtime day race at the track even if the night race continued to come close to selling out. It does not look good on TV to see a race with large swaths of empty metal bleachers, and that is what the Bristol spring race was for most of the 2010s. Add to that, the Next-Gen short track package means that Bristol in 2023 may not be the Bristol of the late 2010s or early 2020s.

Keep it on Dirt

The Bristol Dirt Race has injected some life into an event that desperately needed it. It gave fans a reason to come out to Bristol in the spring rather than just waiting for the night race to come around. The racing product has also slowly gotten better as time has gone on, and NASCAR has learned how to put on dirt races.

The race brings in fans, and the racing product has been pretty good. However, is that enough to keep Bristol Dirt on the schedule? People are understandably split on putting dirt over Bristol Motor Speedway.

Given how popular that concrete Bristol is, taking a date away from that venue was a tough pill to swallow for many. Even if the attendance has been better for the dirt Bristol races than the concrete spring Bristol races, it’s still not pulling in the same crowd that the night race is. Some also complain that racing on dirt is unprofessional, and all that it does is take the sport backwards. Fair or unfair, Bristol Dirt is a difficult thing for some fans to accept.

Move it to Another Venue

If NASCAR really does not like either of these two options, then they could consider moving the date to another NASCAR venue. Here are a few options for where to move this date to.

North Wilkesboro Speedway

The All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway was a smash hit as an event, even if the race was not so great. However, that can be chalked up to the Next-Gen short track package, and the All-Star Open was still an exciting race. The race track proved this spring that it can host the Cup Series, so why not get it back to a Cup Series points date on Easter weekend?

Homestead-Miami Speedway

Homestead-Miami was given a shot at a spring date in 2020 and 2021, and, with the Next-Gen intermediate track product being as good as it is, another race there on the schedule would be popular with fans. The question is whether or not the local fans would support a second race, and, which other date would ISC give SMI in exchange for this date. It could be a logistical headache, but it could also be popular amongst fans.

Rockingham Speedway

This is definitely an out-there suggestion, but why not? It keeps a spring date in an area not too far from where Bristol is, and it would be a return to a popular, old NASCAR venue. However, the track being Cup race-ready by next spring is probably a big ask, and that could keep the track from getting onto the calendar.

The Bristol spring date is one of the big conundrums facing NASCAR as they put together the 2024 schedule. Which of these solutions will find their way onto the calendar?

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Joshua Lipowski

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